Previously, we toured the Canadian Rockies...catch up at that link.
And this link will take you to Part One of our Visit to Calgary
Darn. I have to finally get the rental car out of the parking lot for today's excursion. I was hoping I wouldn't have to drive again until we went to the airport but it is quicker, by far, to get to today's destination of Heritage Park by car rather than transit.
The reason I'm not so happy about that is that it requires me to transfer Tim into and out of the car, not to mention folding up his chair and fitting it into the hatch of our rental car. I can do it...I have been doing it mostly up in the mountains...but it does get tiring and takes its toll after awhile.
It's a bit cloudy and threatening but for the moment it's not raining. We take the drive to Heritage Park, find a spot to park, and head in.
I downloaded a two-for-one coupon at the hotel before leaving. At the ticket window, I ask if they have any discounts for the disabled. I'm told no but a caregiver can go in for free so Tim and I get in for the price of one while Letty gets in for free. We get to pay for one ticket for the three of us.
(As an aside, I've noticed that no one will volunteer that a discount is available at attractions while were here in Canada. Only when I've asked did I receive them. One lady at another attraction told me "you'd be surprised that no one asks for discounts." My response is "maybe you could volunteer that information?")
A plaza is next to the ticket booth with a restaurant, cafe, and a couple of shops. An automotive museum called Gasoline Alley is just inside the gate. It's about a quarter mile walk from here to the heart of the park. up a slight hill.
We walk up. There is also an accessible bus that will take you from here if your unable to.
At the top of the hill, there's a windmill, a train crossing, and a lake off to the left. Crossing the tracks, you are now in the village. It's kind of like a combination of Knott's Berry Farm and a museum.
It's possible to make a big loop and take it all in so we break to the left which takes us by some rentable party tents before getting to the antique midway.
Old rides, such as this caterpillar ride with wooden wheels, are available to ride on.
There's also a swing ride, a carousel, ferris wheel, and a few others. None are accessible.
We watch for a few minutes before I see a station for the old steam engined train that makes a circuit around the park.
"Let's go see if that train is accessible," I tell Tim.
We see nothing to suggest it is, there's even a sign that strollers must left at the station. I ask a gentleman working there if it is.
"No, it's an antique train and it's impossible to adapt it to wheelchairs," is his answer.
Now, we've been on plenty of antique trains south of the border that have very easily been adapted for wheeler with the addition of a portable lift at the station. This line of reasoning is not dealing with reality and points the way to assume that park management just isn't that creative when it comes to its disabled customer base.
We move on to the train shops and locomotive turntable, which are accessible, and check out some of the antique coaches and equipment stored within.
Back in the village, we find accessible points on the boardwalk and are able to go into a few of the shops but the majority are still inaccessible to wheelchairs.
It's not long before we're heading back down the hill.
We make a stop at Gasoline Alley which is completely wheelchair accessible and take in some marvelous pieces of automotive history.
The complex is named for a large row of restored antique gas pumps that you can wander down in addition to seeing the old autos and trucks.
This Cadillac is left unrestored so patrons can get a look at what the vehicles looked like before restoration.
A couple of Auburns take their place at the head of the large room.
A family wagon and travel trailer are on display in a special 'family vacation' exhibit.
We make our way out, and eventually back to Calgary when done. To address the elephant in the room, however, we do note that while Canada seems more progressive and inclusive for the most part than we are in the U.S., we continue to note that they seem to be a few years behind us in inclusion for those with handicaps.
This visit to Heritage Park brings it home for us, much of this park can easily be made accessible and adapted for those with special needs without destroying the historical nature of the buildings and equipment but the attitude is 'it's history and your kind wasn't accomodated back then so we won't do it either.'
Along with a real trial to find a good, accessible room in Jasper and the afterthought of the wheelchair seating at the hockey game, it's getting a bit hard to ignore (as was the inaccessible subway in Toronto a few years back).
We hope that Canada, which is a wonderful country populated with wonderful people, can address some of these shortfalls soon. We can say that the transit in Calgary, the sidewalks, hotels, and many other attractions are greatly accessible but there are still a few glaring examples out there that need improvement.
Well, we don't want to knock it when so much else is perfectly fine so we'll end today's report here and get back with some more accessible adventures on the next one. At least they only charged us for one ticket.
Copyright 2017 - All Rights Reserved
Photos by Letty Musick
Copyright 2017 - All Rights Reserved